Hot List 2014: Arts & Culture

 

 

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Best Art Space
CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM

It’s been a year of celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Brad Cloepfil-designed CAM building, beginning with “Place Is the Space,” a collaboration between five noted artists and the architect. Heralded as a “simultaneous act of enclosure and invitation,” the structure takes on a new personality for each exhibit. Designed to display art of the future before anyone knows what that art will be, CAM and its hallowed halls are the go-to for art that’s fresh and forward-thinking. Grand Center, 314.535.4660.

Best Use of Technology
MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM

Visiting an exhibit at the Missouri History Museum is always a multisensory, multimedia experience. Curators and designers at the museum make use of everything at their disposal to tell the stories that matter to Missourians. In the current “250 in 250” exhibit, for example, guests can listen to audio recordings of firsthand accounts of local history, view informative films or become part of a historical photo using green-screen technology. Forest Park, 314.746.4599.

Best Special Events
WORLD CHESS HALL OF FAME

When it comes to special events, the World Chess Hall of Fame thinks outside the chess board. Its groundbreaking exhibition, “A Queen Within,” which ran from October 2013 to April 2014, featured clothing from many of the world’s great designers, including Alexander McQueen, Gianfranco Ferr̩, Jean Paul Gaultier, Gucci and Iris van Herpen exploring the various archetypes of the queen. This fall, WCHOF will focus on the strong chess culture in hip-hop with avid chess players Rza and Gza of Wu-Tang Clan. Checkmate. Central West End, 314.367.9243.

Most Innovative Programs
PULITZER FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS

The Pulitzer rolled up its sleeves last January when it launched its new programming series, “Reset,” which takes place during the museum’s normally dark days between major exhibits. The inaugural program featured a cornucopia of hip, surprising events that brought big crowds to experience the Pulitzer like never before. Among the highlights were the Ultimate B-boy Championship Open emceed by Mr. Freeze, a drag performance by famed drag queen Raja, and the American premiere of John Cage’s “Thirty Pieces for Five Orchestras,” featuring the entire St. Louis Symphony Orchestra spread throughout the museum under the direction of David Robertson. Now that’s innovative. Grand Center, 314.754.1850.

Best Art Classes
CRAFT ALLIANCE

For 50 years, Craft Alliance has been teaching craft technique to citizens throughout the region and has always been driven to experiment with new ideas and adopt new technologies. In addition to classes on working with clay, glass, fiber, metals and wood, CA recently added a graphics studio where students can utilize 3-D printers to solve complicated design problems, a fashion design curriculum with a fashion lab, and Global Studios technology that allows students to interact with fellow artists across the world. Multiple locations, craftalliance.org.

Best New Arts Destination
SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM EAST BUILDING

Construction of SLAM’s $162 million new East Building had the art world salivating over its unique grid of skylights, 21 galleries with floor-toceiling windows, automatic lighting and environmental elements that earned it a LEED gold certification for features such as its low-flow bathrooms and “green” roof that utilizes sustainable wood and recycled materials. It’s also thrilling visitors who enjoy fine dining at Panorama or a casual bite at the new snack bar and a stroll through the expansive, pristine galleries. Case in point: The massive “Impressionist France” exhibit currently wowing visitors features 120 works divided into seven sections that seamlessly fill several conjoined galleries. Forest Park, 314.721.0072.

Best Summer Art Camp
COCA

Featuring some of the most creative camps around, COCA (Center of Creative Arts) offers its campers the hance to build their skills, learn and express themselves in a variety of artistic ways through poetry, drama, dance, songwriting, videography and other creative pursuits. Where else will you find classes with titles like Ice Cream Camp and Going Godzilla, or get to spend a whole day focusing on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet?” Let’s go camping. University City, 314.725.6555.

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Best Blogger
RACHEL BRANDT OF THEDAILYWILD.COM

Rachel Brandt shares her life and passions through her seriously addictive personal blog, featuring her musings on everything from fashion and events to food and music in a well-composed, serial tale of a modern day adventurer based in St. Louis. TheDailyWild.com.

MUST-SEE SHOWS

The best theater productions of the year.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis
THE MAGIC FLUTE

International fashion design phenom Isaac Mizrahi returns to OTSL to direct and design both the costumes and set for “The Magic Flute,” Mozart’s fantasy tale in which Mizrahi’s sartorial magic and creativity takes center stage. Starting May 24, this is the most buzzed-about show of summer.

Stages St. Louis
HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING

This satire of big business and all it holds sacred recently celebrated its 50th anniversary with a hit Broadway revival. Next month, Stages is picking up the briefcase for a spirited romp through the hallowed halls of corporate America.

The Fox Theatre
KINKY BOOTS

With music by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein, Kinky Boots tells of a struggling shoe factory owner who saves his business by selling kinky boots for men. Winner of six 2013 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE

This Christopher Durang comedy that draws on Chekhovian themes took Broadway by storm in 2013, winning the Tony, Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics’ Circle awards for Best Play. The run at The Rep in spring was its St. Louis premiere.

The Muny
THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS

This reimagined revival of the stage classic “Porgy and Bess,” which played Broadway to critical acclaim in 2012, will hit The Muny boards next month with a topnotch cast, including St. Louis native Kingsley Leggs.

Photo by Matthew Murphy.

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Best Idea Bounce
TEDX

TEDx, the wildly popular speaker event that presents “Ideas worth spreading,” began licensing the series to local event producers several years ago, and has become so popular that there are not one but two series in town: TEDxStLouis‰ÛÓwhose recent TEDxStLouisWomen event was a big success‰ÛÓand TEDxGatewayArch, whose upcoming TEDxCity2.0 takes place at Central Library and features presentations on the “core elements of urban life and ways to make improvements through citizen powered change.” An integral part of TEDx events is the videotaping of the live presentations, which are then made available online. tedxgatewayarch.org.

Best Lecture Series
ST. LOUIS SPEAKER SERIES AT POWELL HALL

Since 1998, the St. Louis Speaker series has featured the world’s most intriguing individuals, from Hollywood royalty to world history-shaping power politicians. Mikhail Gorbachev, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Carl Reiner, author and journalist Tom Wolfe, Robert Redford and even Frank Abagnale‰ÛÓthe conman portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in “Catch Me if You Can”‰ÛÓare just a few of the notable speakers from past series. The upcoming season won’t disappoint either, with legendary actor Martin Sheen, historian David McCullough and theoretical physicist and TV darling, Michio Kaku, among this year’s guests. Grand Center, stlouisspeakerseries.org.

Best Place to Jumpstart Your Writing Career
WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY SUMMER WRITERS INSTITUTE

Need to sharpen your writing skills? The Washington University Summer Writers Institute is a literary whetstone. This intensive, two-week program features workshops in each of six genres: fiction, flash fiction, literary journalism, modern humor, personal narrative and poetry. Students work with published authors and get lots of feedback in a relaxed, non-competitive format that gets writing gears going, regardless of skill level. Institutes are held on evenings and weekends, so quitting that day job isn’t a necessary. Housing options are available for out-of-towners, and all participants are encouraged to make use of campus libraries and quiet, outdoor areas for writing and reflection. Washington University, 866.340.0723.

Best Theater Festival
SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL ST. LOUIS

You can always count on the Shakespeare Festival for a pleasant day of picnicking and beverages amidst the carnival-like atmosphere and a world-class performance of Shakespeare under the stars. This year, the festival will‰ÛÓfor the first time in its history‰ÛÓpresent more than one play: “Henry IV” (parts one and two condensed) and “Henry V.” We’re sure after you’ve seen one, you’ll want to see the other. “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.” Forest Park, 314.531.9800.

People’s Choice Best Performing Arts Organization: The Muny, Forest Park, 314.361.1900.
People’s Choice Best Performing Arts Venue: The Fox Theatre, Grand Center, 314.534.1111.

Best Radio Show
ST. LOUIS ON THE AIR

St. Louis Public Radio veteran journalist Don Marsh talks local issues, hosts discussions and voices concerns pertinent to the citizens of St. Louis on the popular “St. Louis on the Air”‰ÛÓall while exuding the comforting persona of a concerned uncle. Mon.-Thu., noon-1pm, KWMU-FM, 90.7, @STLOnAir.

Best TV Personality
MELANIE MOON

St. Louis loves a friendly face, which is probably why KPLR’s Melanie Moon has been charming FOX 2 evening news viewers for more than 10 years‰ÛÓearning her the reputation as both a respected journalist and avid supporter of countless local causes and organizations. KPLR 11 at 7pm, @Moon_Melanie.
People’s Choice: Tim Ezell, FOX 2, @TimEzellTV.

Best Online Personality
ASHLEY “LUX” ELZINGA

From giving us the backstage details at the hottest local music venues to making rush hour more tolerable with the Wayback at 5, Lux Elzinga has turned her love for music and radiating personality into one of the most envied jobs in St. Louis‰ÛÓwhich she shares with us, uncensored 24/7 @lux1057. Weekdays 2-6pm, KPNTFM, 105.7 “The Point.”

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Best Blogger
RACHEL BRANDT OF THEDAILYWILD.COM

Rachel Brandt shares her life and passions through her seriously addictive personal blog, featuring her musings on everything from fashion and events to food and music in a well-composed, serial tale of a modern day adventurer based in St. Louis. TheDailyWild.com.

MUST-SEE SHOWS

The best theater productions of the year.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis
THE MAGIC FLUTE

International fashion design phenom Isaac Mizrahi returns to OTSL to direct and design both the costumes and set for “The Magic Flute,” Mozart’s fantasy tale in which Mizrahi’s sartorial magic and creativity takes center stage. Starting May 24, this is the most buzzed-about show of summer.

Stages St. Louis
HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING

This satire of big business and all it holds sacred recently celebrated its 50th anniversary with a hit Broadway revival. Next month, Stages is picking up the briefcase for a spirited romp through the hallowed halls of corporate America.

The Fox Theatre
KINKY BOOTS

With music by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein, Kinky Boots tells of a struggling shoe factory owner who saves his business by selling kinky boots for men. Winner of six 2013 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE

This Christopher Durang comedy that draws on Chekhovian themes took Broadway by storm in 2013, winning the Tony, Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics’ Circle awards for Best Play. The run at The Rep in spring was its St. Louis premiere.

The Muny
THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS

This reimagined revival of the stage classic “Porgy and Bess,” which played Broadway to critical acclaim in 2012, will hit The Muny boards next month with a topnotch cast, including St. Louis native Kingsley Leggs.

Photo by Matthew Murphy.

 

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